Monday, December 29, 2008

Brew Years Resolution

In the spirit of the new year, I've decided to put together a list of my 2009 new years beer resolutions.

1. Brew at least once a month.
2. Enter more homebrew competitions (in order to get better feedback about my beer)
3. Finish my business plan (if I'm ever going to get this business started, i need to finish it)
4. Learn and understand more about water composition in certain styles
5. Buy a grain mill so I can start buying bulk grain
6. Find a place to store the grain
7. Post more on the blog (goes with brewing more)
8. Post more educational information about brewing (for the beginner readers I have)

So....I know that's a lot, but I figure if I can get half of those done, then I've accomplished a lot. I hope you all had a great holiday and have a happy new year. I'm brewing my Belgian Wit tomorrow so I'll post the recipe and notes after.

Also, I finally popped my Winter spiced ale with a few friends over Christmas, and it was a big hit. My brother and I were very excited as you can see. When I originally tasted the first a few weeks ago, the cinnamon was overpowering, but the extra time in the bottle really allowed the cinnamon to mellow and balance very well with the nutmeg and ginger. I was very please, although Christmas night I had a few too many of them and had a hard time walking home. Oh well!!

Cheers and Happy New Year!!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pike Entire Wood Aged Stout

I was recently sent a bottle of Pike's Entire Wood Aged Stout. Since I can't get Pike here is MA yet, Linda, the marketing manager for Pike offered to send me a bottle. I received it this week and finally had the chance to pop it open. Below is my review.

Appearance. Pours a dark black color with a thick creamy two fingered dark coffee color head. The head was very slow to disappear and left a decent lacing on the glass.

Smell. I think I didn't give it enough time to come down to proper temperature, but there was not a big aroma. I got hints of coffee and some malty bready notes.

Taste. The malty backbone of this stout is very obvious. Very well brewed on it's own. Hints of caramel came through and sweet chocolate flavors were present. There was a small hint of oak early on in the glass, but by about half glass the oak was very obvious, but not over powering. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel. Mouthfeel was very smooth. Velvety was the word used in the press release and I agree. At the end of the sip the crisp carbonation came through a little.

Drinkability. I was very pleased with this beer. I can picture having a few of these after dinner. The high alcohol (9.5%) was very warming. The hints of oak and chocolate were perfectly balanced with the stout base and blended together well.

Overall, I was very impressed with this beer, although it didn't start out well. The neck and cap of the bottle were dipped in wax, which presented the bottle nicely. Unfortunately, it was a huge pain in the ass to get off. This is my first encounter with a waxed dipped bottle and I was not a fan. The contents inside where more than capable of making up for the wax issue. I can't wait until this beer makes it's way out to Boston. I can already see it becoming a favorite treat at the candy....i mean beer store!!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekend comes to a crashing end

Thanksgiving each year for me is shared with my wife's family in PA. Since there are so many of them (28) we celebrate thanksgiving and Christmas together, and then my wife and I spend Christmas with my family. This year, instead of going to my wife's aunts house, we all rented some condo's in the Pocono Mountains in north eastern PA.

The week was great, minus the fact that there was no good beer around. Thankfully I thought ahead and brought a bunch of beers, plus some of my own (Brown Session and VB Porter). I gave some tastings to some family members and they all loved them. I think I've secured beer duty for all future family gatherings.

When we got home and unpacked, I had to re-stock the fridge with all the left over beers ( i brought beer for everyone, but apparently only needed to worry about me and my wife so I had a ton left over to bring home). I was in the basement about an hour later and heard a sudden crash come from the fridge, and then the door flung open and out poured bottles of beer, shattered glass, waves of beer spilling from the broken bottles, and a few bottles which thankfully didn't break.

Apparently it's not smart to fill a shelf made of glass with 2 + cases of beer, because it will shatter and spill everything on it. The real problem is that I didn't label my last two beers (Brown Session and VB Porter) because I was going to enter them into homebrew contests and as most of you know, labeled bottles are frowned upon. I had it all down though, the VB porters on the right side of the top and bottom shelf and the Brown Sessions on the bottom shelf. Well, when the shelf shattered, it mixed them all up and now they got all mixed up and I don't know which ones are which. So needless to say, I might be entering them into the wrong categories. Oh well....Might as well start drinking the little that is left over and find out which beers are which.

Hope you all had a good turkey day!